Lessons Learned From Bad Hires


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Are you a law firm owner who is thinking about hiring a new staff member? In this podcast episode, Tyson shares insights on the critical role of hiring in a law firm. 

Whether you are hiring attorneys, virtual assistants or office staff, it is so important to hire the right people for a law firm. Bad hires can really disrupt the energy and success of a law firm. Tyson delves into what causes bad hires and how to avoid hiring the wrong person. A bad hire can stem from a variety of reasons. It can be from rushing into the process, ignoring red flags on resumes or during the interview process as well as the values of both sides being different. When you face a bad hire, Tyson shares that it is good to have a pipeline of candidates that you can go back to and consider if needed.

Tyson shares how assessing cultural fit is an important thing to look for in a candidate. Think about what your team values, the personalities that exist and how the team works best. Make sure to consider that when interviewing candidates. Another thing to do to avoid a bad hire is to not rush the process. Rushing the process can lead to the wrong person being hired because you have too many other things going on and just need someone. Tyson emphasizes the importance of creating a good, well thought out hiring process to avoid this.

Listen in to learn more about how to avoid a bad hire!

Episode Highlights:

  • 00:23 Discussion on the significance of hiring the right people for a law firm
  • 1:09 Exploration of the various reasons behind bad hires 
  • 4:38 Emphasizing the significance of assessing cultural fit in the hiring process


Transcripts: Lessons Learned From Bad Hires

Tyson (00:02.594)
Hey everybody, it's Tyson again. I'm back with another episode.

Tyson (00:12.906)
Hey, it's Dyson. I'm back with another Saturday episode. And today I want to talk about something that might, might sting a little bit for some of you, but it's full of learning opportunities and that's lessons learned from bad hires, regardless of how large or small your firm is. Hiring the right people is absolutely crucial. And I'm not, I mean, we're talking about teammates that are virtual assistants. We're talking about in-seat hires. We're talking about.

virtual hires, whatever it may be, we're talking about hiring is what we're talking about. So whether you're just remote and have VAs or you've got people that are in the office, those are all factors you obviously have to consider, but we're going to talk about generally hiring today. It applies to all of you. But what happens when hires go wrong? How do you deal with that? So we're going to try to prevent that by going through some of lessons that I have learned.

Before I get into that though, I want to remind you, if you want to get stage one of maximum lawyer and minimum time, I'm not sure how much longer we're going to make that available to people. If you do want stage one for free, text us stage one to 314-501-9260. You'll get that absolutely free. We give that to guild members when they join the guild. They get all stages for free when they join. We're going to give you just for being a listener stage one. So make sure you text us to them. All right. Let's…

jump into it. So let's face it, no matter how skilled we are at law, hiring is an area where even the best can falter. And I'm going to talk about that in a little bit. A bad hire, it can happen for any number of reasons. It can be a rush decision. It could be that you're overlooking red flags. It could be a misalignment in values. It could be a mismatch with workplace culture.

no matter what it does happen. So whatever the reason it does happen, there's valuable lessons that can be learned in these moments. And so there's one of these things where you have to assess it. You can do everything right in your hiring process and still get it wrong. So don't beat yourself up too much. And I'm going to talk about that now. We just had to, five days into her hire, terminate a new employee. We…

Tyson (02:33.95)
We didn't want to do it. We have gone back to try to assess everything to see where we went wrong. We have not quite figured it out yet because we put her through the exact same process that has gotten us really good culture. We have gotten a great culture at the firm. We've been using top grading, which I talk about in another episode. And it's been fantastic. Somehow though, on this one, we missed. Okay. And what's weird is that.

She was a clear number one candidate. Number two was a distant number two. And somehow we missed it and it just happens. But you've got to learn from it and you got to move on. And what's really important is you always got to be hiring. That way you've got this pipeline of candidates and you can go back and boom, keep moving. And that's what we did. We end up for our number three candidate, we went back and what we did is we put them on a…

There was other reasons why we excluded number two, which I won't get into, but number three, that candidate, we put him on a probationary period. He's been doing great so far, but we had him in the pipeline. Okay. We went back to him and said, Hey, we've reassessed. Let's see what we can do here. He's on a probationary period now. He's doing great. Much better than the first candidate. And sometimes you just get it wrong. Okay. And I talked about our hiring process in another episode. That's why I'm not going to go into detail about it.

So just, if you want that, look up one of our other episodes where we go into detail. Jim and I have an episode where we talk about where we actually interview our office administrator. She talks about it a lot. And then we also, I do it on a Saturday show too. So we can put those in the show notes. All right. So let's get into some of these lessons though. So lesson number one, and it's really about the importance of cultural fit. And that's something that.

We was clearly missing with this new hire. Okay. Um, it was, it was, it was evident on day one, it was not going to work. And somehow, you know, somehow we missed it, but we caught it. It was one of those things where we assessed, we were able to catch it very quickly and then make a decision. Just was not a good fit. And, um, you want to assess from the beginning culture fit. If they, if they're not going to work out, you got to make that decision. Cause the problem with

Tyson (05:00.274)
of someone that does not fit the culture, it can affect everything else. It can affect a lot of other employees. And if you kind of think of like that bad apple that then rots the other apples, you got to think about it from that perspective. And so make sure that whoever it is fits really well with the culture of your firm. We talk about, we hire peeps and we talk about that in another episode too, which I won't get into, but we're looking for that energy. We're looking for the people that can energize other people and have that passion.

But I mean, you got to have passion for what we do. If you don't, it's just not going to work out. But so we're assessing from the very beginning. Okay, how are they on culture? That is, you know, that's why it's lesson number one. This is maybe the most important thing. So make sure you're looking for that. Many of the technical skills we can teach, but culture is something that's just, it's going to disrupt everything else. So watch out for that. Another thing is, and I can tell you early on, whenever my…

my previous partner, whenever we split, what was interesting is that I rushed a hire very, very quickly. And just to kind of get us up to speed. And it was a great reset for the firm because I was able to kind of reset everything and then build a new firm almost from scratch. And it was great. And I was able to rebuild everything from the ground up. And it was awesome. That being said, I did rush. I made a really bad hire, maybe my worst hire I've ever made.

It was because I rushed it. I did not, we'd already at this point had a pretty, I'd put together because of my work with Jason Selk. I had put together a pretty thorough hiring process at this time. So the hiring process we had in place. I had ignored it though. And I rushed it. And what happened was that because of that, I ignored red flags, which is one of those things you don't want to do and rushed it, ignored some red flags. So there's really two lessons here. Don't ignore the red flags. If you've got them on your list, don't ignore them.

Um, the other one is just don't rush it, put them through the process that you have, do all of those interviews and, and if they don't pass around, they don't pass around and they don't move on. Okay. You have to make sure that they pass every single round test, whatever you throw at them. If they don't, they're excluded. And if you have zero candidates by the end of your process, guess what? You have zero candidates. You keep, you keep looking for people. You don't just rush it because you need someone because a bad hire is going to cost you a lot of money.

Tyson (07:26.414)
It's going to cost you a ton of money, a ton of time. It's better to put more time into hiring and finding the right person than it is to spend a few extra hours at the office for a few weeks. Okay. So it's just to make sure you do that. And one of the interesting about the bad hire that I was talking about is that she had done something and I don't know why I overlooked this, but she

It was late for her first interview. And then she had to reschedule her second interview because she said she didn't, her husband had planned something and she didn't know about it. Okay. So those are both just two massive red flags where it sounds like one, one of the red flags was that she was late to her interview, didn't even call ahead to say, hey, I'm gonna be running behind. But the other thing is like, it sounds like her personal life may be a mess. And it was.

it was an absolute mess, which caused a lot of problems with her being able to get into the office on time and a lot of other problems. And so don't ignore those red flags. Make sure you're doing those comprehensive interviews to make sure you're finding out as many of the details as you can to figure out a lot of those things. One of the things is that, I want to talk about trusting your gut. That's another lesson.

Tyson (08:51.754)
it can give us the signals that we need that something just isn't quite right. And although I'm not a huge person saying like, hey, just trust your gut. I'm not, but sometimes if you've got a feeling for whatever reason, there might be, and we say gut, but there's probably reasons. There are actual reasons that you, although you might not be able to identify them, your brain is telling you there's something that's wrong here and I shouldn't hire them.

And so if you've got that with a situation, if there's just something about a hire that you just, you know, it's just not right. It's not clicking during the interview. Then you might just want to reassess and maybe get another opinion. Okay. Get another opinion on things that way they can tell you another, another person on the team can say, Hey, you know, this, yeah, you're right. That's not going to work out. Or, you know, maybe you're, you're wrong. Let's give it another interview. Another lesson is that I've learned is that make sure you're using team interviews.

that way because sometimes you have bad days, right? Sometimes you have bad days. Sometimes the candidate has bad days, but if you're doing team interviews, and multiple team interviews, by the way, not just one team interview, you're doing multiple team interviews, even though you might be having a bad day, your teammates probably not having a bad day and they can assess it from a different situation. That way you're not bringing your biases into the interview. You're actually going in and you're…

you've had different perspectives and maybe sometimes you're just wrong. Sometimes you're missing things. Sometimes you're not picking up on it the right way. Maybe you misunderstood something that was said. So that's something else too is a lesson that I've learned. It's really valuable is making sure you're doing team interviews. Really, really important. And then, you know, the last one I want to get into, because I talked a little bit about, you know, probationary periods and that's something that I do recommend. I'm not going to go into detail about that. I do want to say that that's something you should consider if you don't do it now. But.

Really the last thing I want to get into is it's okay to admit that you made a mistake, but here's the deal. If you do acknowledge that you made a bad hire, you've got to make, it's not fair to them and it's not fair to you or your team to keep that hire in the office. And to keep them employed, you might feel really, really bad about that you hired them and maybe they quit their other job and maybe feel bad and oh, maybe we'll hold on to them.

Tyson (11:13.09)
The reality is that they're not a good fit, they're not a good fit, and they're gonna make everyone else miserable in your office. It's gonna cause a lot more problems. The best thing for you to do for that person and for you and for your team, go ahead and let them go, acknowledge the fact that you made the mistake and it's okay, it's okay. Okay, I'm gonna say it one more time. It's okay to acknowledge the fact that you've made a mistake, it happens. Okay, but the best thing for everyone is to just, you don't wanna lead that person along. Okay, they may have other job prospects, by the way. They, you just hired them.

They may have other job prospects that they have not yet turned down, that if you hold on to them, they will lose those job prospects. So it's best to let them go, explain to them, hey, it's just not working out, not a good fit and move on from it. Okay. Just move on from it, acknowledge the mistake and move on. All right. That's all I have for you. Hopefully some of these tips, some of these lessons will help you in some of your hiring and just I'll say it one more time.

It's okay if you make a mistake, you're gonna make a mistake. I think just knowing going in, you're gonna make a mistake in hiring it at some point, even if you've hit a home run on every single one of them, at some point you're gonna make a mistake, it's okay. It happens. All right, let's wrap things up. As a reminder, if you have something you want me to cover on the Saturday shows, just shoot me a text, text me 314-501-9260 and I will get to it when I can. There's lots of great episodes we've had, a lot of great suggestions and.

I'm getting to all of them as quickly as possible, but there's only one Saturday a week, and so I can't get to all of them at one time, but I definitely will. Thank you for your suggestions. I really appreciate it. And shoot me a text if you have any questions about anything too. I'd be happy to respond. Until next week, remember that consistent action is the blueprint that turns your goals into reality. Take care.

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